Everybody’s Words Matter

Toni Morrison said, “Word-work is sublime, she thinks, because it is generative; it makes meaning that secures our difference, our human difference – the way in which we are like no other life. We die. That may be the meaning of life. But we do language. That may be the measure of our lives”. I was particularly drawn to this epigraph because Morrison is talking about how much our words, whether it be through writing or dictated, is important in recognizing each of our lives and telling our stories.

In Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie‘s TED Talk, “The Danger of a Single Story”, Adichie presents multiple examples of how individual’s were seen differently because others bought into believing one story. In one example she talks about how Africa was seen as a country as opposed to a continent made up of countries and then became known as being the place of “beautiful landscapes, beautiful animals and incomprehensible people, fighting senseless wars, dying of poverty and AIDS”.

One of my goals for this class include avoiding what Adichie warned against in regard to the single story. It is important that I be mindful that there is more than one way something can be presented. As Dr.McCoy had said there is more than one way that African American Literature can be presented. For example on February 1st, she discussed how the Norton Anthology and the anthology that we are reading, Call and Response differ from one another. The Norton Anthology attempts to present a belletristic publication while Call and Response presents a cultural naturalistic response.

In class on February 1st, Dr. McCoy had done in exercise related to what we had read in They Say I Say about having meaningful class discussions. During this exercise she and fellow classmates had exemplified what should and shouldn’t be done during a discussion. For example you shouldn’t cut somebody off while they are trying to speak and then change the subject. You should be able to recognize the opposing view if somebody disagrees with you. As Morrison says, our differences are what makes us human and it is important that we express our thoughts as it is how are lives are measured.

Another one of my goals for this class is to listen more carefully to my peers’ thoughts during class discussions. I also hope to be able to participate more in class discussions. As Dr. McCoy said in class, we all have our strengths and weaknesses when it comes to class discussions and mine is expressing my voice. All of our thoughts and opinions are just as important as each others.

Overall, my main goal for this class is to recognize the importance in every word that goes into each writer’s work or each student’s argument including my own. Every word that someone wrote or said means something to that individual and their story.

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